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New Report Encourages Revamping Student Testing

New Report Encourages Revamping Student Testing

Standardized testing has become a large issue in schools across the country and now even the Obama administration has agreed to aid in the pullback of implementing these tests to its students.

A new report conducted by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and The National Center for Innovation in Education suggests "overhauling how school and student success is measured in the United States," said an article on EdSource.org. The report "recommends alternatives to annual standardized tests" and "says there should be far more emphasis on ongoing assessments of students as part of regular classroom instruction."

Schools, the article said, "should focus more on 'formative assessments,' the curriculum-based problems and quizzes that teachers give to students throughout the school year for feedback on how students are doing, in addition to locally developed alternatives to assessments." The report argues the latter "could include science experiments, literary essays, classroom projects and, by the senior year of high school, internship experiences and portfolios that students can present to employers and colleges."

The report is written by Linda Darling-Hammond, director of the Stanford program, and Gene Willhoit and Linda Pittenger from the Kentucky center, the article said. The report, the article said, "also calls for the replication of elements of California’s new funding and accountability system, the Local Control Funding Formula, which it praises for directing more money toward low-income students, English learners and foster children."

"Multiple-choice, end-of-year tests, including higher quality and more complex versions such as the pending Smarter Balanced assessments, alone won’t lead students to reach those goals or adequately measure all that will be demanded of them, Wilhoit said. The report also noted it is critical "to stop using annual tests as the chief gauge of school success and student achievement."

Willhoit also said the new standards "require students to do things they had not been asked to do before," the article said, and to develop "habits of the mind" and "abilities to solve problems, apply knowledge and think critically."

"We offer these ideas about a new paradigm for accountability in the spirit of beginning a conversation that might ultimately result in a policy framework with the potential to allow the United States to move forward in its aspirations to educate all students for the demands of the world they are entering," the report concluded. "Nonetheless, we believe it is imperative to get this national discussion started."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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